October 2003

October 1, 2003


Justice William Rehnquist is 79 today. Maryann Elkas completed training at UMass in Lotus 1-2-3 under Larry Smith in April, 1985. Came across an old clipping about the 1997 death of adman G. Robert Richardson whom I knew in the 80's when he used to work for the aging owner of Sir Speedy printers. He was a mild mannered gentleman.

Got a note in the mail today from the Ryan for Mayor campaign thanking me for letting them put a sign on my lawn.

I drove out to see Shelly Lucia and gave her the key to Aunt Maria's. She invited me into her tidy kitchen and I noted a beautiful watercolor of a country barn in a gold frame. There were other watercolors on the walls. Shirley Lucia is an artist who sells her art through the Granville Gallery run by her brother. It is opposite Granville Town Hall, one mile from the center of town.

On the way back I stopped at Ryan headquaters at 438 Boston Road and Barbara Garvey was just leaving. She was very friendly and told me that she had seen Eamon just two days ago. I took their latest literature which included some campaign commentary by Tom Devine supportive of Charlie.

From Ryan's I went to the Big Y for the specials, especially parsnips marked down to $1.99. They were the Sugar Mountain brand from Manheim Farm in Whately, Massachusetts. Then I headed over to Randall's where I found lots of good stuff on the bruised fruit counter. Finally I went to Burger King on one of their free coupons. When I got home a truck for Alpha Heating Equipment of Wilbraham was over Jozephyczyk's.

Today was the groundbreaking for the renovation of the Springfield Civic Center. Governor Romney came and said on TV that it was Brian Lees who convinced him to go ahead on the project. Mike Albano and Stu Hurwitz were on with Hurwitz saying that he expects 25 conventions a year "with enormous economic spin-offs for the entire region right out to the Berkshires." We shall see.

Tonight I watched the debate between Ryan and Melconian on channel 57. It looked like Linda Melconian was wearing a lot of makeup. Ryan won the debate easily. In the half hour before the debate started Rev. Talbert Swan was interviewed about his book. He seems like a fine fellow and I wish he were running for City Council. Then to my surprise they had Tom Devine in a blue sweater talking about the history of his paper/website and at one point quoting Ken Kesey.

October 3, 2003

Overcast and 53 degrees at 9:15am. Gusty winds. Gas at Breckwood Sunoco is $1.66.

My 62nd birthday. I am getting old, but mentally I am still young. I'm in pretty good health and am careful about what I eat, less red meat and lots of veggies. Got a nice birthday card from Mrs. Staniski. Also a pretty card from Ann Staniski Flentje.

With all the people killed from medical malpractice every year you might say that MD stands for murder! Rush Limbaugh had to resign from his position at ESPN because of racist remarks he made over the weekend. WFCR said today that the Diocese gives $700,000 a year to the Newman Center at UMass because fifty percent of UMass students are Catholic. Author Suzanne Strempek Shea of Palmer will read from her new book at the Heritage Academy in Longmeadow.

The wristwatch which I found in the parking lot after Mother died still runs fine. In the middle of the night at 2:30 it chimes 20 times. Ken Lamoureux and Wendy Parent were married at the Cat's Paw Antique Shop on Parker Street in Indian Orchard in 1993. Claudia and Vincent Robillard owned the place and recently told me the couple are now divorced. Nothing lasts!

Had some fish and chips leftovers for breakfast and then over for more estate work in Feeding Hills. I am really fed up with it all. Shirley Lucia was there and said the Methodist ladies would take the lawn chairs. I went over a lot of boxes and found a beautiful red Union Leader Indian tin which I brought home.

Eamon called and said fifteen people were sickened recently by bad fish sold at Schermerhorn's including Eamon's friend Sam Salvey the CPA. I told Eamon I got my flu shot yesterday at Stop&Shop for only $20 and he said he tried to get his shot at the VA but they were out of vaccine. J. Landers is selling one of his rental properties on Miller Street for $118,000. He also owns properties on Redland and Page Boulevard. Springfield teachers are doing informational picketing, it has been 23 years since the last teacher's strike in Springfield.

President Andrew Scibelli has announced his retirement from STCC, raising the possibility of some profound changes at the college. For starts it should be changed to a four year school. It will be interesting to see what Scibelli does next, he has publicly contemplated running for mayor in the past. Meanwhile outgoing Mike Albano is still pushing hard his crusade for lower prescription drug prices. Trying to leave a favorable impression with any future jury pools?

October 6, 2003

48 degrees, some sun. Both stations at the Pond down to $1.65.

First day of the Fall Term of the Supreme Court. Big election in California tomorrow. Fifteen women have claimed that Arnold Schwarzenegger groped them, but if you hang around with Arnold you can expect all kinds of groovy stuff to happen and I am not troubled by that. But rumors about his admiration for Hitler are a problem.

People say, "Dress for success." Of course you dress appropriately if you want to succeed by blending in with people by looking like them. I prefer to dress down as a litmus test of people. Will they be professional or will they reject me because of how I'm dressed?

Pratt and Whitney machinists voted against a pay cut so there will be lay-offs. WFCR says there are 208 biotech firms in Massachusetts and the issue is whether when they get past their incubation stage will they mass produce their product here or move elsewhere?

I had dropped eggs on toast this morning. It was what Mother gave me whenever she wanted to cheer me up. Last night at the corner of Catalpa a red car hit a green car. At the bend on Alden Street they have put up the frame of a house on what will be the last open lot. Some sort of roadwork underway at the intersection at the bottom of the hill of Dickinson and Orange.

Arrived at Aunt Marie's at 9:05 and started sifting through papers. I am truly fed up with screening stuff from the Giroux estate. I have thrown out about 50 boxes of stuff, but interesting, even important things surface in everything I screen. Today I found a Five College Medieval Studies brochure with the name Eugene D. Hill in it and a Greenfield Community College catalog that says Robert L. Merriam is the Assistant to the President.

Around eleven Edith Michaud and Mrs Rivers arrived in a light chocolate colored Taurus. Then in a big brown car came Mrs. Mickey. They took stuff for their tag sale. Vincent Robillard came by early so I had less time to prepare for him. Robillard said he doesn't know Povirk. He said Maria's collection of Family Circus cartoons aren't worth anything, but anything involving old machines brings good money.

I showed Robillard the Good Time Stove Company brochure and he left with a van full of things. He gave me about $450 worth of foreign postcards in return, which I can probably resell for $600. A few of the postcards were stamped "Hartford Public Library" and "Collection of N.C. Baker." At the end of the day Shirley Lucia came by to take out the trash.

Melconian has a half page ad in the paper saying that Ryan will raise taxes. Eamon says that Linda Melconian has a lousy, very vague website, while Charlie's is very informative and detailed and he says that in contrast to Melconian, Ryan has the courage to deal honestly with Springfield's financial management crisis. Eamon currently has a cute message on his answering machine:

Perhaps if the career politician Linda Melconian, who was never gainfully employed in the private sector, took a basic home economics course she could save money cooking at home instead of eating out all the time at the Tavern and Fort restaurants. Doesn't she find it time consuming to put make-up on her two faces? I'm not trying to make jokes about politicians, all I'm doing is watching Linda Melconian and reporting the facts.

October 9, 2003

Up at 7:30am, 57 degrees. A lovely day. Gas is $1.65 everywhere at Six Corners.

Life is wonderful for a few but not for the millions who suffer so much.

YoYo Ma is 48. Arnold Schwarzenegger has terminated Gray Davis as Governor of California. Attorney James F. Egan had his office in the Court Square Building in Springfield in 1966. Came across an old clipping of Craig M. Bradley accepting the Alumni Achievement Award from AIC in 1994. I knew Craig Bradley from DeMolay. He was a joyful young fellow in those days. He had a convertible car, played pool and not too serious about grades. He was close to Bob Ewell and Richard Boyden.

New commercial on TV22 this morning had Jack O'Neil saying, "People think I'm Irish but my mother is Italian!" It was a pitch for the Columbus Day Kavanaugh Furniture sale this weekend. Mrs. Staniski stopped by on her way to the Christian Bookstore to get a birthday card for her neighbor who is about to turn 100. She said Ann is taking her to Kennebunkport next Wednesday. She gave me some cookies and two Harvard Gazettes. After she left I decided to be nice and haul the Cohn's dumpster and blue recycling box up to their garage, then spoke briefly with Cressotti next door.

New roof going on the most easterly building at the Gates of Heaven Cemetery. Fred Whitney has no campaign signs on his lawn. Stopped at Fleet Bank and was waited on by Pat Beauregard. Arrived at Lincoln-Mercury at 1535 Bay Street at 11:50. The former Mutual Ford Uncle Sam statue that once stood on the site now stands by the Plantation Inn at the exit to Route Five.

My new car was waiting by the door. The car is lovely and Tanya Gebo took my picture posing by the car with my dolls Sweet Pea and Honey Pot. They said I'll get the picture on a calendar in about three weeks. An elderly lady came by walking her dog and she paused to say how beautiful my car is. She said her name was Terry O'Neal and her dog had the delightful name of Chip Finnegan.

I got a Pepe for School Committee flyer in my mailbox today. Eamon is scoffing at rumors that Dick Neal will be the new President of STCC. Eamon sent a note to Ryan promoting Jim Lander's wife Cynthia for a finance position should Ryan win. She is presently the Business Administrator for the Hampshire Regional School District and she was also the one who blew the whistle on the fraud and mismanagement at the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority under Terry Tornek.

I paid my last visit to 175 Poplar in Feeding Hills today. I had nine boxes remaining to sift through and I threw most of it out. I had my final chat with Shirley Lucia, who was sitting on the bench outside the garage cutting peppers. I took a couple of pictures of the place and departed, another chapter in my life closed.

October 11, 2003

57 degrees at 7am. Warm Indian Summer day.

My Father contributed to the presidential campaigns of Ronald Reagan. Father tried very hard to be good to his little boy and of course for parents part of the adventure of raising kids is doing things they are eager to try themselves and can use the kid as an excuse to do so. My whole life I have been punished for either doing the right thing or for doing nothing wrong at all.

Landmark Realtors, "Guiding Your Way to Quality Real Estate Services," has offices in Hampden, Ludlow, Monson, East Longmeadow, Feeding Hills and Springfield. Doris A. Lynch, a member of the Springfield Armory Historical Society and formerly of Longmeadow, has died at 92.

I mowed the entire lawn today, somebody had kicked my Ryan for Mayor sign so I straightened it up. Afterward I chatted with Mr. Allard who has his tag sale sign up again. He told me he has had three deaths in his family recently, and that last night he went to the Tavern and had the veal cutlet and eggplant. I told Allard I wanted to fix my chimney and he suggested Ace Chimney Sweeps. When I got back in the house I called Ace but they said they were so backed up they're not even looking for work.

Sent out the mail via Cindy at Lewis&Clark. She said she had the Saturday morning blues. A new house is going up opposite 133 Denwall, and another at the corner of Sunrise and Parker. There was a big crowd, all white, standing and waving signs for Charlie Ryan at the intersection of Boston Road and Parker. I honked enthusiastically.

Today I went to the Grand Opening I read about in The Reminder for the Wilbraham Hampden Savings Bank, located on Boston Road in front of Home Depot. Outside the new bank a large tent was set up where radio station Mix-93.1 had a wheel to spin to win prizes. Also under the tent they had free popcorn and hot dogs in buns. They also had free coffee and pumpkin pie. I ate one box of popcorn and three hot dogs. For the kids they had balloon twisting and face painting.

On the way into the bank they handed me a bag of bank propaganda that included a pen and a keychain. I saw Tom Burton standing around with a tan shirt and a tan baseball cap on. I said, "Hi there, Mr. Burton!" He responded, "Good to see you." I'll bet. I also saw Rev. Loesch, who grinned as I waved. I saw drums and other instruments from the Minnechaug High band sitting by the popcorn, but no music was played while I was there.

This really is the first Hampden Bank structure to be more than just a piddling little thing, outdoing United for once, luckily for the bank workers assigned to Wilbraham. There are spacious personal banker offices with the name plate on one reading Nicole Dionne, Operations Manager. In all, for a bank opening, it was quite grand.

I told Eamon about Terry O'Neil and Chip Finnegan and he liked the name of the dog. Ryan and Melconian had a debate at the Church in the Acres last night. There were a lot of people waving Ryan signs and only a few Melconian backers. Eamon said, "Charlie Ryan reamed her up one side and down the other." He said Linda Melconian fell apart at one point and looked like she might start crying. Melconian made most of her comments from notes. Ryan kept insisting that Melconian says she has a plan for Springfield, so show us your plan! Melconian kept trying to change the subject to getting tough on drugs.

There will be three more debates, with two of them on TV. Eamon says the newspaper is working on an article designed to remind voters of Ryan's problems with the black community when he served as mayor in the 1960's. Ryan is trying to blunt the attack in advance by going all around last Sunday visiting black churches. Eamon complained that Charlie looks like an old Irishman which hurts him with some voters, but he can still win. Eamon claims that the only businesses not moving out of Springfield are drug dealers, prostitutes and the Mob.

October 14, 2003

Service in the military is a transforming experience, but in ways we should prefer they not be transformed. Sen. Joe Biden accused the Bush Administration of "making the world substantially more dangerous." Cheney needs another heart attack!

Davidson's Market and Bakery was at 328 Wilbraham Road in 1964. Halfway between Roosevelt Avenue and Winchester Square was William's Spa, Pederzoli's Drug Store (run by our neighbors the Burkes) and Davidson's Market. Every day when I came home from school at Homer Street and later Buckingham I came by that little shopping center. Kids went into Pederzoli's with their nickles and bought Popsicles, although I was seldom allowed to indulge in such wastefulness. Davidson's I remember only dimly. It was bigger than the drug store and sold vegetables, but that's all I can recall.

On WFCR I heard James Levine directing his first concert with a Boston orchestra. I love Boston and collect images of Boston. I have a cubic foot of No Expiration Date coupons going back to the 1960's. Whatever happened to that crummy little publication The Optimist? The Reminder's front page is now in color. Dan and Chris Buendo are the second generation publishers and Mike Dobbs is the Managing Editor.

Channel 3 said that there are over 400 cooking schools in the USA, with lots of people going into cooking as a second career because it's a portable skill and restaurants are one of the fastest growing industries. The problem with all this vocational training is that it does not expand the mind and prepare people to look at the big picture. The Liberal Arts and Sciences should be the only undergraduate majors permitted with vocational training reserved for after. The love of learning is the most precious thing upon the Earth but few graduates possess it!

William C. Nader (The Hatter) who used to have a shop downtown at 340 Worthington in Springfield (founded by his father in 1918) called today to congratulate me on my new car. He said he will come up from Florida for a visit in November and we should go out to lunch with Eamon. Eamon called and said an old lady with a plate of cookies would attract more people downtown than any of the development schemes devised by Springfield's economic planners.

Paul C. MacDonald of the Western Mass Telephone Worker's Credit Union is retiring after thirty years. Lynn Wallace has been with them for 24 years. Tree pruning is going on in Hillcrest Cemetery. The former KV Homes office building is now beautifully landscaped with young birch trees and flowering bushes out front. The Napolitan's have both a Ryan and Sarno sign on their lawn. I counted 18 Melconian signs along Breckwood Boulevard and only ten for Ryan. Melconian and Ryan will be debating at Commerce on Thursday. Arrived in Ludlow at 4:20. They have a new Wendy's but I went to Burger King for a Mustard Chicken and bowl of chili with a coupon. The chili was good but not as spicy as it could be.

Things to do in the coming months:

Found the George Alfred Giroux Memorial Fund.

Give Giroux papers to Agawam High School and the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum.

Make a postcard of the John Wesley window in Trinity Church.

Write an essay on "Me and Methodism."

Oppose religion.

Get Pynchon Medals for me and my friends.

Publish my porno poems.

October 17, 2003

51 degrees. A nice sunny day, breezy. Helicopter flying overhead at 9:17am.

Dr. Thomas Andrew O'Connell had his office at 573 State Street in Springfield in 1945. Nancy Albert was the Assistant Treasurer at United Co-Operative Bank on State Street in Springfield in 1979. Attorney Fred A. McCoy has his office at 6 Burt Lane in Wilbraham. WFCR says the Red Cross is low on blood, especially Father's which was O negative. Mayor Sullivan of Holyoke talking on the news kept saying idears rather than ideas.

Council candidate Carol Lewis-Caulton called to see if she could put a sign on my lawn. I said yes and someone promptly came by and put it up. Flagg Excavation Company of Monson was over Jozephczyk's today removing an enormous oil tank from under their driveway. A black man delivered the mail at 1:45.

Springfield College's Loveland Chapel is now a daycare center and the former Marsh Memorial Library is the Administration building. I called Springfield College and got Nora who said she has only been there for three years and she hadn't a clue about Loveland as a benefactor or his chapel. She transferred me to Dari Fravoni, Vice President for Development, but his receptionist Donna said he was "in a meeting" and will get back to me. We shall see.

Mr. and Mrs. Robillard came by briefly today, saying they had just come from the White Hut in West Springfield. They asked how I was doing with organizing the Giroux stuff and I showed them around. After they left I headed downtown and had lunch at Red Rose Pizza on Main Street. A real nice restaurant divided into two sections with icicle chandeliers overhead. Kitchen is full of windows so you can see what the cooks are doing. I ordered eggplant parmigiano and a small pizza which came with Italian rolls and butter. The pizza was lovely but too much so I brought it home in a box. I was totally satisfied and left a big tip.

Jim Landers has sold most of his machinery except the Heidelberg press he bought for $3,000 years ago from a guy on St. James Avenue. He says the press is now worth $16,000. Eamon says Ryan was a big success at the Commerce debate which was held during the day in front of the students. At some points they were cheering Charlie like he was a rock star! At the end they voted for Charlie over Linda 313-79. Obviously the kids could see that Ryan is sincere and Melconian is a phony.

October 20, 2003

Overcast. Gas is $1.63 at the Pond.

The past haunts the future, always and forever.

Carrie Robertson's First Lady's Fashion Boutique will have its third annual fashion show at Monarch Place on November 30th.

There was a good crowd at the theater in the old Breckwood Big Y as I drove past. Just after ten I drove into the former Loveland Chapel parking lot. The word Loveland appears nowhere around the building. However down by the Wilbraham Road entrance there is a sign reading, "Springfield College Child Development Center."

From there I headed directly to this year's Antiquarian Book Fair at STCC. It seemed smaller this year, with Povirk and Smith having the only double booth. Murray told me he could have gotten me free admission, but of course by then it was too late. From Buy the Book I offered to purchase a framed panoramic postcard of Springfield for $125 but he wouldn't sell. Barbara C. Paulson of Huntington, Massachusetts was selling antiquarian paper. Gordon A. Cronin was there from Taurus Books in Northampton. Out at 1:10.

On the way back I stopped to visit Mrs. Staniski and put up her kitchen storm window for her. Then I drove her around a little in my new car. We drove out to Hillcrest Cemetery although the peak foliage colors have been lost in the recent rains. It was the quiet of the afternoon, no traffic on Wilbraham Road. I commented on how when I was a child we would drive around and there wouldn't be a lot of cars. Now the streets and roads of the Acres are frequently crowded. I asked Mrs. Staniski if she had received the Springfield Library and Museum Association annual report yet and she said no, but if she doesn't she will not contribute next year.

Eamon says his answering machine shows people from The Republican have been calling and listening to his messages every day recently. So has Superintendent Burke as well. There has been a whispering campaign around Mason Square that Charlie is a racist. Eamon said, "This mayoral campaign is getting dirty, dirty, dirty!" He also wondered why he hasn't seen Tony Ravosa around lately. Eamon recalled that old man Ravosa went to AIC. He used to own the Alexander House and the fancy brick house on the corner of Union and Maple, the one with the pillared porch around the front. Ravosa also once ran the Harrison House restaurant. Eamon said that Roger Slade was Ravosa's partner in owning the former A&P warehouse on Birnie Avenue that went up in flames. They collected full insurance despite rumors that they moved out everything stored there just before the fire.

October 22, 2003

Raining at 10:27am.

On October 11, 1945 my Uncle George Giroux's dog Trixie bit E.H. St.Pierre of 34 Amity Court, Springfield. The Quadrangle publishes far too much promotional literature and at great expense. Whatever happened to Attorney Arthur Serota, who once seemed to be one of Springfield's brightest and most promising?

Cooked up a Marie Collender blueberry pie and it was great. I am going through old newspaper clippings, choosing ones to save, ones to dump, ones to give to Eamon and others, ones to paste in my diary (very few, but the one's so honored are important) and ones to do otherwise with. Among the old clipping files I found several delinquent tax lists and Scibelli and Melconian's names did not appear on them. Has the newspaper been covering up for them?

I also came upon an article by Clifton J. Noble about my old friend Robert Lloyd Staffanson, who conducted the Springfield Symphony Orchestra from 1955 to 1970. I had much joy playing violin in the Young People's Symphony and serving as stage manager. When I went to college he wrote me a recommendation to the Colby Community Symphony under Dr. Eranno Comparetti. Under Stafanson we played every Friday in the Tapestry Court of the Museum of Fine Arts. I had to get there early to set up chairs (along with Jerry Clark, Linda Burnham and Michael Ouilette) and it was my responsibility to make sure all the equipment came back with us on the bus.

The postcards I had made of the grave of Josiah Holland arrived from the printers today. The final text on the back of them reads:

"Josiah Gilbert Holland (1819-1881) Dean of Springfield Men of Letters, rests beneath this early commission of Augustus Saint-Gaudens in a shady plot at the rear of Springfield Cemetery. Partner with Samuel Bowles in The Republican, Holland rose to the editorship of Scribner's Monthly (1870-1881) and is remembered for his History of Western Massachusetts (1855) Life of Abraham Lincoln (1865) Timothy Titcombs Letters (1858) and a number of edifying sentimental poems and novels. Photo by J. Wesley Miller."

I called Jim Mooney the General Manager of Springfield Cemetery and he was friendly and upbeat. He said he would be very grateful if I gave him some Holland postcards. I also called Springfield College and this time got Bonnie. She admitted that Ken Childs had been fired and when I asked why she said, "That's too complicated to get into." She took my name and number and said she would give it to her boss but didn't promise he would get back to me.

Next I called the Marketing Department at Springfield College and got Amy. When I asked about the Loveland Chapel she said, "I've never heard of it." She did however connect me to Ron Ziemba, the Director of Marketing. I asked about the departure of Ken Childs and he replied, "It was an academic freedom matter. Childs felt he was entitled to say whatever he wanted about the course the college was taking. President Bromery didn't feel that way." I then asked about the renaming of Loveland Chapel but he expressed reluctance to go into detail "because I wasn't here then. I've only been here three years."

Got a phone call today from a pollster asking who I intended to vote for to become mayor. While I was putting the trash out Carol Lewis-Caulton pulled up and thanked me for letting her put a sign for her council candidacy on my busy street. She asked if I thought Charlie would win and I said we'll have to see.

The newspaper reports that the pedestrian walk and elevator at the Basketball Hall of Fame has been "shut down all summer." Eamon called and said he was at Ryan's today to deliver a video of the debate at Commerce. Charlie told him that he was genuinely moved by the enthusiastic response he got from the students in the audience who were wildly cheering at some points and who voted for him at the end by a margin of 3-1.

Eamon said he spent more than two hours yesterday being interviewed by a Federal agent who was looking for background information on all aspects of Springfield politics. However before he could tell me more he had to hang up because Jim Landers was banging on the door.

October 24, 2003

Half inch of sugar snow last night. 43 degrees at 8am. Gas is $1.62 at Six Corners.

Education and civilization merely make for a bigger Tower of Babel.

The Green Trees Gallery in Northfield, Massachusetts is featuring the works of Laura Garrison. There was an anti-war demonstration in Westfield yesterday. Charlie Ryan supporters were doing a stand-out in Sixteen Acres center today. So was Dom Sarno.

Started using a new toothbrush. Roy Scott was helping out on the WFCR fund drive this morning. He said they were considering calling it the Shorter Fall Fund Drive but that was not alliterative enough. How about Faster Fall Fund Folly?

Scooted out briefly to Fernbank, the land I donated to Wilbraham, and they have just started building a retaining wall at the bottom of Maynard Hill. I then delivered 200 Holland postcards to Gail D. Cosby at Springfield Cemetery. She showed me a rare Chamber of Commerce postcard they have of the cemetery that I've never seen before. I offered her a good price for it but she said they would never sell it.

I went downtown to the dedication of the statue of Congressman Edward P. Boland. I parked on Salem and was a little late so when I got there the audience was already assembled. There were a lot of empty chairs. The statue was hidden by a blue covering. Judge Keyes gave a flowery speech praising Boland which would have made Eamon laugh. Keyes called Boland "a giant of conscience, character and courage." Eamon likes to call Boland "Tip O'Neil's errand boy."

Sgt. Daniel Clark the Singing State Trooper sang an Irish blessing. Charlie Ryan was standing in the back with Cheryl Rivera. Linda Melconian was a no-show. I saw Sheriff Ashe, David Bartley, balding Tom Burton, Saco Catjakis, Joe Carvalho, Frank Keough, Ben Swan, Pat Sullivan and young Picknelly. Mrs. Ryan was standing with Ray Hershel. Tommy Reilly was there as was the State Treasurer. Interestingly there was no David Starr, no Larry McDermott, no Fran Gagnon, no Mary Hurley, no Brian Lees, no Paul Caron, no Gary Cassinelli, no Paula Meara and no Mitt Romney. Former Bishop Maguire was there but not Dupre. I got some good pictures of what was a mostly dull, sparsely attended affair. And where was Richard Neal?

Eamon called and said he discovered that Mitch Ogulewicz is working for the Rockville Connecticut Savings Bank. Eamon said he was over Charlie Ryan's house today and the newspaper called while he was there to ask Ryan his impressions of Eddie Boland. Eamon said he was "too kind" in his appraisal. He also said when he got there Mrs. Ryan was in the yard raking. Eamon wondered why Charlie doesn't hire someone to do the raking rather than let his wife do it, but I said Joan Ryan is no doubt like my Mother who had hard work built into her very being.

I told Eamon about the Boland event and he said they should have passed out hoops so they could have a contest tossing them over the statue. Eamon said that whenever Boland saw him he would try to avoid him by hurrying away. Eamon says the political machine hates Charlie Ryan because "he went to Washington and fought like hell to save the Springfield Armory" in the 1960's. Boland had taken the side of Ted Kennedy in the Senate race with Eddie McCormack, who was a good friend of President Lyndon Johnson. McCormack was mad and told Johnson to let the Armory close so Boland would lose his seat.

Johnson felt threatened by the Kennedy's, and hoped to damage Ted and Boland's reputation by showing they were powerless to save the Armory. Charlie liked the Kennedy's, but had wanted to run for Congress against Boland for years and did so, not really caring that he was also serving the agenda of Kennedy's enemies. Boland held unto his seat, but the Boland and Kennedy camps never forgave Ryan for the role he played in Johnson and McCormack's attempt at revenge. So the Springfield Armory was closed because of the animosity between Lyndon Johnson and the Kennedy's, with Charlie Ryan getting caught in the middle.

October 25, 2003

37 degrees and sunny at 7am.

The Springfield City Library's central building's 75th Anniversary was held April 5, 1987 with speakers Thomas Costello, President of the Springfield Library and Museums Association, Library Director James Fish and then Mayor Richard E. Neal. The Wheeler Gallery of the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts was established by a $150,000 gift by Mass Mutual head Thomas Wheeler and his wife Robin. Susan P. Davison was appointed development head of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra in 1991. She was an elitist smartie who did things wrong thinking nobody would notice. I believe she was involved in my not being invited to update my history of the Symphony.

WARE "Real Oldies" 1250AM is having a Halloween Dance Party featuring Joey Canata and the Memories plus Brian McCullough as "Roy Orbison." There is a picture by Bob Stern in the paper of Arthur F. Kinney, Director of Renaissance Studies at UMass, looking as pretentious as possible while posing with his computer. Douglas Bush would never have permitted himself to appear in such a pose. Kinney has gotten a big grant to do a computer study of the vocabulary of Shakespeare's plays, and he has a reputation as a egregious pompous ass.

I attended the Grand Opening today of the Monson Savings Bank branch in Wilbraham. I parked in the Post Office parking lot and walked up the sidewalk to the new bank. The bank itself is a very handsome structure, large and grand. Inside I was greeted by bank Vice President Lynn A. Yarmesky. The executive corner offices are unusually large, and there is no community room. The check writing counter is too small and the entire effect is elite and uninviting.

For freebies they were giving away large boxes of popcorn, better than what they gave away at the Hampden Savings Bank Grand Opening a few weeks ago. They also had coffee and fresh donuts, plus they passed out stainless steel bank logo coffee mugs that were far superior to the key chains Hampden gave out.

So we now have three beautiful new banks in the Boston Road corridor in Wilbraham, not to mention the banks close to the Eastfield Mall. Ware Savings was there first and is beautiful but not close to anything. Hampden Bank, which opened two weeks ago is the nicest Hampden branch in an otherwise tacky chain. Hampden also has the ideal location because they're close to a hardware store. Monson is awkwardly placed as the only thing nearby is the Wilbraham Post Office, which most people don't go to regularly. Therefore I pronounce the new Monson Bank a lovely white elephant.

Left at 11:56 and came home by Stony Hill Road. In the Acres center there was a paltry standout for Michael Rodgers and another four or five people with Kateri Walsh signs. On Birchland Avenue I saw Mrs. Penniman out walking with a little kid and I waved but she didn't recognize me with my new car.

Next I stopped in to see my neighbor Lieutenant Lucius to pick up the book Beach Red by Peter Bowman, a really good 1945 poetic account of war I had lent him. He told me his wife is not well. Lucius said he told a friend recently that Charlie Ryan is bound to win the mayor's race but his friend disagreed. I told him about the Boland statue unveiling and he said he was never impressed by him, saying that Boland did nothing when he was in office. However he did say that once he went to Washington D.C on a trip and Boland came out to say hello to his tour group. As for current Congressman Neal he said, "He'll be in there for life."

Lucius said he bought a new jacket but later regretted it when he found out it was made in China. He has made arrangements to be buried in the new Veteran's Cemetery in West Springfield, although he hasn't seen it yet. Lucius said he gave his purple heart away to his grandson. He went on to recall how his dad came down from Quebec and worked his whole life at Chapman Valve, describing his childhood as "nothing special but we were happy." As I left I saw Robert Jozephyczyk and waved to him, and he smiled back which is uncommon for him.

October 28, 2003

53 degrees and heavily overcast at 8am. Gas is 1.61 at the Sunoco by Gateway Village.

Two dumpsters were out in front of Nichol's today and a rose-colored sofa. I saw a red car over there so I walked over and met Janice Shaw of East Longmeadow and her son. She apologized for Dick's surliness the last time we spoke. I said I thought that Dick acquired a surly demeanor because his father pushed him into cabinetmaking when he would rather have done something else with his life.

Not a word from my dear friend Dr. John Rixon, who is enveloped in the military machine for being in the reserves I suspect. Went to the Antique Show at the Expo in West Springfield today. I left at 10:08 and going down Alden Street I was driving behind a woman with a Linda Melconian sticker on her back window. Parking was $3 and admission $7. There was no printed program for the sale, and Ralph Schmidt said they didn't arrive from the printers in time. There weren't too many people there and many booths had no activity at all.

The Robillard's were not there nor was Chimney Corner Antiques of Newburyport. I looked at some oak tool boxes like Uncle George had that were for sale for $250 at the booth for The Cat's Meow of Longmeadow. Also a sewing machine like Maria's for $195. Similar products were for sale by Larry Shapiro of Glastonbury. Heller of Granby wanted $18 for an antique can of Doan's Pills. Mrs. Penniman was there and smiled at me as she walked by. Mike Jacobs of Matrix Gallery was friendly enough but had no postcards I wanted, so I bought a thousand postcard sleeves from him for $9 that were made in China. He told me he is battling lung cancer and he looked it, and I fear I may not see him again.

After the Antiques Show I headed to the Quadrangle for the official unveiling of the Dr. Seuss Postage Stamp. I parked by the back of the Blake House and saw Sue Davison getting out of her black four-wheel drive. I was dressed in my black biker jacket and had Sweet Pea and Honey Pot with me plus my camera. The stage was set up in front of the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum and I was surprised by how few people were there. On either side of the stage were elementary school kids in Cat in the Hat uniforms and I sat with my dolls in the fourth row.

I saw no sign of Fran Gagnon, Guy McClain or Tom Wheeler. David Starr arrived and looked disgusted when he saw me sitting there in my leather with my teddy and my bunny and my camera. Petluck was there as was Judy Matt dressed in black and sitting next to Sue Davison. Rep. Richard Neal and Mayor Albano arrived together and sat in the front row with Starr. Don D'Amour joined them later.

The program began with the school children singing God Bless America very sweetly and Mary Russell the Retail Manager for the Post Office was the emcee. Other Post Office officials participating were Mike Powers and John Steele. Joe Carvalho read his speech, referring to Starr as "a good friend of the community of Springfield." Then Steele and Dr. Seuss' widow Audrey Geisel removed the curtain and everyone oohed and ahhed at the giant 37 cent stamp.

Russell read a proclamation sent by Governor Romney, then Congressman Neal spoke recalling how Dr. Seuss came to Springfield when he was mayor and gave him an original drawing of the Cat in the Hat which he now has hanging in his office in Washington. He noted that both Dr. Seuss and Benjamin Franklin started out in Massachusetts and went on to do big things. The program ended with the children singing a song called "Dr Seuss We Love You."

Afterward David Starr and Richie Neal remained seated by the stage for a long time talking but I couldn't overhear what about. I briefly spoke to Carvalho and told him I would eventually bring him some historic material from the Giroux estate for the museum and he seemed pleased. On my way out I passed through the library and saw Ed Lonergan and gave him one of my new Josiah Holland postcards. Back at the car at 12:47 I then went for a salad lunch at Ruby Tuesday's.

Ryan headquarters called today asking if I can work at the polls on Election Day but I had to defer saying I am very busy right now. With all the estate work the summer escaped me in many respects. Yesterday the Springfield Republican gave Charlie Ryan a lukewarm endorsement, all the while praising Albano and bringing up yet again how when he was mayor in the 1960's Ryan brought in the National Guard against Black protesters. Eamon called the editorial "damnation by faint praise" and that the endorsement will do nothing for Ryan. He said internal polls show Blacks and Hispanics are supporting Melconian by a wide margin. But will they vote? Ryan was on TV tonight saying that he called in the National Guard in the 60's in part to protect the civil rights protesters from the police. Very clever, but I don't think it will help with the police union vote!

October 31, 2003

52 degrees at 7:25am. Many of my leaves are down. Gas $1.59 at Mobil.

My fashion role model Henry Winkler is 58 today. O.N. Christianson was at 960 St. James Avenue in 1943. Louis W. Doherty was an attorney at 31 Elm Street in Springfield in 1943. Carlisle's had twelve convenient stores in 1959. William Proakis was the Office Manager at Union Federal Savings in 1980. Eleanor Giroux was an award winning poet. Unfortunately I have found the awards but not the poetry!

Mrs. Jenks called and left a message last night saying, "William Beldon died last night. Thought you'd like to know. It's in the paper." He was our neighbor on Crest Street and was 81. I called A.G. Edwards and asked what was hot and ended up buying a hundred shares of Microsoft for $2736.80. Waited on at Fleet by Terry Haskins where I got $500 for Efrem Gordon to give to Pam Jendrysik. Also withdrew $600 for pocket money.

Food Mart plaza in Agawam is to be demolished. Sturbridge Village is cutting staff by ten percent and will close on Mondays and Tuesdays. The 16 Acres tattoo parlor is gone. There are signs in the window but I was too busy to stop and check. Had lunch at the 16 Acres Friendly's. I sat in a window booth and was waited on by Jerod. I bought some soup but the bowl was shallow, then had the steak which was superb. The salad was okay. On my way out I complained to the manager Nick about their deceptive soup bowls and he was pleasant and non-adversarial about it.

Election supplement in the paper has a flattering picture of Melconian but Charlie is shown with a five o'clock shadow. They editorialized for people to vote and not "sit on the sidelines and complain." The Mardi Gras, which Ryan told Eamon owes lots of back taxes, has strippers standing out handing out pro-Melconian leaflets downtown.

Eamon was up to Northampton to the vet's hospital and while there he stopped at Michelson's Gallery. He said his nephew Patrick Rogers the state trooper had a heart attack. Eamon disappointed his former Cathedral classmates by not showing up to sing at their recent reunion. He is still considering making a $5,000 contribution to the school. He says he was removed from the mailing list of Amherst College.

Why does the media always put Charlie Ryan on first and Linda Melconian second? That gives Linda the advantage of having the last word. Last Friday on The State We're In it was Ryan then Melconian. It was the same thing this morning on WFCR. This morning Ryan said, "If you've got a $20 bill in your pocket you've got more free cash than the City of Springfield has." He said politicians should be "honest, intelligent and dare to take risks." He described Springfield's current political culture as an "unimaginative, dull political existence that has lost the capacity for indignation." They brought up how in 1965 Ryan "called up the National Guard during a peaceful civil rights protest" but Ryan said that was thirty years ago and today he is willing to work "with and for everybody."

Linda Melconian was disgusting, defending the Urban League takeover of the Mason Square Library and denouncing Ryan for the National Guard incident saying, "He has not apologized, he has shown a lack of sensitivity and the Black community is rightfully offended." She said she would be "a cheerleader for Springfield" and that Ryan is too old to run the city. Melconian is dumber than I ever imagined and an embarrassment to Mount Holyoke. No wonder Speaker Finneran is glad to be getting rid of her. At the end Ryan mentioned that he has 11 kids and 31 grandkids.

In the mail today came a stupid letter from ex-rep Paul Caron endorsing Melconian. I called Charlie to alert him and Mrs. Ryan answered, saying she had just come back from the supermarket. Then I called Bob Powell and told him. The Caron endorsement letter began:

Two years ago I ran for mayor because I believed the City of Springfield needed change - a change in leadership, a change in direction and a change in the way things were being done. I still believe that to be the case today. And I believe that State Senator Linda Melconian is the person who can best bring about that change in Springfield.

I called the number listed on the Paul E. Caron Associates letterhead and got the answering machine. I identified myself and said I was disappointed in his letter. I said that because of all the spelling and grammar errors of his previous correspondence I know he didn't write that endorsement letter himself, but when whoever did write it put it in front of him to sign he should have made like Nancy Reagan and just said no! I also said it makes him look like he wants a job with the Melconian Administration.

Privately I have always considered Caron a lightweight. The only reason we backed Caron for mayor in 2001 is because we wanted to get rid of the Albano Gang. By backing Melconian he is now a traitor to the cause and has let down all his former supporters.


November 2003

November 1, 2003

Sunny and mild. 56 degrees at 8am. Gas is $1.52 at Pride.

120 Americans have died in Iraq since May.

Scott Carr working for the National Rifle Association called and was conducting a poll about the presidential election of 2004. I said that if she runs I will be supporting Hillary Clinton and if not then John Kerry of Massachusetts. I also added that Bush is a terrorist who must be replaced at all costs. He thanked me and hung up rather quickly.

Springfield Gas Light Company was located at 35 State Street in 1930. The Meekins, Packard and Wheat Store was at 1459 Main Street. Body Graphics tattoo parlor has moved to 1211 Parker Street (next to Ginger Blossoms) under the new name True Self.

Today was a busy day. Took a picture this morning in Hillcrest Cemetery at the back of the big obelisk. The red leaves are gone except from a few bushes. Yellows and oranges abound and lots of brown. A majority of the leaves have not yet fallen.

I stopped by Eastfield Mall and bought chocolates for Belle-Rita Novak and Melinda McIntosh at CVS. Then across to Stop&Shop for a couple of pies and apple cider on special. Next to Home Depot for some grey paint to touch up my floor. Drove out to Blanche and John's Fernbank and photographed the stone wall going up along Maynard Road where the blueberries grew. Finally I stopped by the liquor store and ordered a case of Bristol Creme from Linda, rather than the boss Ida. Trees are being cut down in DeRiso's front yard. When I got home I raked the front tree belt and had a brief chat with Mudry.

The mail brought two Linda Melconian for Mayor fliers, a glitzy one in full color and a black and blue one with pictures of her supporters. The mail also brought a copy of Efrem Gordon's letter to Pam Jendrysik and a $500 check. This afternoon Ryan workers passed through the neighborhood delivering flyers door to door. Several Dan Kelly for City Council signs are up in the Acres.

Eamon called and is upset about a story in Thursday's paper about "ballot assistance" being offered by Melconian voter registration people. Inspectors found 600-700 absentee ballots with different kinds of writing and pen-ink on the same ballots, all of them cast for Melconian. What did Election Commissioner Brian Santaniello know about this? Eamon said, "These guys have been pulling this kind of crap for years" at the public housing projects. Register them to vote and then "help" them with who to vote for, even if it means marking the ballot for them.

November 3, 2003

56 degrees at 8 this morning. Sunny, wonderful fall day. Michael Dukakis is 60 today.

Green is sort of my favorite color because it captures my imagination.

C.R. Crowder was President of the Van Norman Machine Company in 1956. Paul J. DelFino was Executive Vice President of Shawmut Bank in 1995. WFCR had a Quadrangle ad on today promoting their Egyptian exhibition. The Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst has gotten a $200,000 grant for restoration. I have heard nothing from The Friends of the Library in a long time. A lone Black-eyed Susan is still blooming in my backyard.

Mory's Pub has College Nite every Wednesday with Bobby C's Downtown Uptown according to a flyer I found blowing around their Breckwood parking lot. On the noon news they said that the Daily Mart on the corner of Wilbraham and Alden was robbed last night. The evening news had a report on the re-opening of the Liberty Branch Library and had Helen Boyle saying all branches will open by next week. Then Nancy Dell came on saying that two tablespoons of pumkinseeds twice a week will shrink your prostrate.

Spoke to Daryl Robinowicz of R&R Wrecking and he got the material I sent him. Then I got a call from Vinnie the chef at Storrowtown who said that in response to my complaint that I am always getting wrong numbers due to the similarity of our phone numbers, I am now entitled to one free lunch there per year. I thanked him and said I would be by in a year to collect. Russell Seeley called asking if I were voting for Ryan and I said yes and I have a sign on my lawn. A Mr. Ferentino, aged 82, came by in a black GMC 4-wheel delivering Ryan campaign material. I took it to be polite although I had already seen it all.

Eamon called and praised Ryan's new commercial saying that he's "going to restore the fire department to its full complement of men." I pointed out to Eamon that it was sexist for Ryan to only refer to men. Eamon informed me that Gordon Oakes gave $500 to Ryan, and all the Picknelly's gave $500 to Melconian. He said that Paul Caron is working very hard for Melconian. Eamon says Caron never forgave Ryan for refusing to publicly endorse him in 2001. Jim Landers ran into Caron in Indian Orchard and criticized him for backing Melconian. The caller ID on Eamon's machine shows that Caron calls to listen to Eamon's telephone messages every day.

Eamon said an anonymous caller left a message on his machine claiming to be speaking for the Melconian campaign. He didn't recognize the voice but the person promised him "a prominent role" in the Melconian Administration if he would double-cross Charlie. Eamon says he's disgusted with the desperation of the attacks by the Melconian campaign and says this is one of the dirtiest campaigns he's ever seen. He said, "The smaller the ship the meaner the rats."

The latest Melconian flyer attacking Ryan is brutal. After praising Melconian as "the first woman majority leader in the history of the State Senate" it goes on to supposedly tell "the truth" about Charlie Ryan:

At almost 77 years old does he have the mental and physical stamina to run our city?

Old time economics - things have changed since the 1960's.

Huge economic declines in our downtown business and entertainment district during his terms as mayor.

Too quick to react to stressful situations by calling in the National Guard in the late 1960's.

Out of the political loop needed to restore funding to our city, most of his contacts and political knowledge is obsolete or non-existent.

Then it ends with: "We need to vote for Linda to ensure our secure, economic and educational future."

That flyer is a disgraceful, vague attack filled with innuendo, red herrings and grammar errors! Eamon says Tony Cignoli is Melconian's top political consultant.

November 5, 2003

48 degrees at 11:12am by the United Bank digital clock. Overcast, gas is $1.52 at Pride in the Acres.


At 9:16 last night TV22 was the first to report the victory of Charles V. Ryan over Senator Melconian by a vote of 14,979 or 53% to 13,258 or 47%. Melconian even lost in her home ward. The City Council winners were incumbents Bill Foley, Dom Sarno, Jose Tosado, Angelo Puppolo, Rosemarie Mazza-Moriarty, Dan Kelly, Bud Williams and Tim Rooke. Longtime insider Kateri Walsh won the only open seat. Comeback attempts by Mo Jones and Lewis-Caulton failed. Kevin Sears and James Ryan are big losers. Mayor Ryan will face a mostly hostile council.

TV coverage showed pandemonium at the John Boyle O'Reilly Club where Ryan was shown working his way to the podium through a screaming mob. Crowd shots included a cheering Ogulewicz and Karen Powell laughing with tears of joy in her eyes. A line of dignitaries were shown standing onstage as Ryan reached the podium and I was surprised to see that one of them was Tom Devine. With Tom's old radio friend Kateri also winning, things might be looking up for Tom if he hadn't taken that job at UMass.

But the only reason they gave him that job was to get him out of Springfield, just like Starr worked behind the scenes to get Al Giordano a job with the Boston Phoenix just to get him out of town. First they try to kick you down, then if that fails they kick you up! They would never give Tom a job that would bring him back to Springfield, and I hope Tom is smart enough to know that. Still, I feel he belonged on that stage last night more than some others. It was a night for rejoicing by everyone who has struggled over the years to save Springfield, even those who moved away.

Then the coverage shifted to Linda Melconian's headquarters, where gloom prevailed, and Melconian herself was shown bitterly complaining that she lost because of "the Springfield Republican's portrayal of me as a tax cheat." She did not congratulate Ryan. It was noted that Melconian was first elected to the Senate in 1983 and her current term ends in 2005. Then the coverage went back to Ryan, who was giving his victory speech, saying, "We now have the chance, the golden chance, to change this city for the better."

The Republican's motto: "Where the News Hits Home." The paper was late coming out this morning due to mechanical problems with their new press. The Springfield Neighborhood Plus section had Clodovaldo Concepcion on the cover and a big article about 16 Acres. The paper also had a "Claim to Fame" article on Robert Parker, the first of what will be an occasional series of profiles of famous local people. They had lots of election coverage, including a front page picture of Charlie Ryan and Tom Devine.

Yesterday of course was Election Day and I voted at 11:30 and was number 147 at Glickman Elementary School. In the past I have taken papers available in the front lobby and have found grammar errors in official school releases. Today when I entered the school the Principal Kathleen G. Sullivan greeted me cheerfully. There was a table with pastries for sale for some kind of fund drive set up by a bookcase with printed materials sitting there for the taking. When I came back from voting in the adjacent gym I found that the table had been relocated to block the way to the bookcase so that the papers were out of reach. Principal Sullivan wasn't going to have me inspecting and correcting her literature this time!

After voting I headed to Forest Park where I noticed that the lights were on in the Forest Park library as I drove past. I stopped at the Forest Park Market at 355 Belmont Avenue, newly re-opened under new management. Inside it looks pretty much the same, with the same tile on the floor. A whole aisle is devoted to oriental fare, with signs in both English and Vietnamese. It is a Red and White chain market and they use red and white bags. I bought some crackers, oranges and corned beef. Then I went to the Coin Exchange and bought two local history tokens, Pynchon's house and the Masonic Temple, for $90.

Then I went and made some photocopies at Copycat and while I was about it Alvin Paige, Director of Visual and Performing Arts at A.I.C. came in. I greeted him and at first he didn't remember me, but then said he did. I politely asked if his colleague Doyle the Twig Painter would return to teach at AIC and he said he didn't think so. I promised to send him some material in the mail and he said he would be looking forward to it.

When I got home I called Mrs. Staniski and she said she had been to the polls and voted for Ryan. Then Melinda McIntosh called and thanked me for my Halloween offering. She said this has been a hard year for her because her best friend, a music teacher, died earlier this year and Melinda fell and cracked her skull at the Ingleside Mall and had to take time off from work.

The guy who now lives in the Weaver house had a Ryan sign up for a while but then took it down. Now that Ryan has won, he has put it back up! Isn't that human nature, everybody wants to be with the winner.

Eamon called and said Doyle has been home from the hospital for two weeks, he heard it from Tom Auby who dines at the Hungry Hound Restaurant on Boston Road by Doyle's gallery. I was surprised when Eamon told me that he didn't go to the Ryan bash last night because he said he couldn't have stood it if Ryan had lost. With his voice trembling with emotion he told me, "I only hope that Charlie has the creativity and the courage to straighten this city out."

November 7, 2003

53 degrees and still overcast. Billy Graham is 85 today.

The space probe Voyager is at the edge of the known universe.

John M. Lilly was Executive Vice-President of Westbank in 1991. Springfield Public Library Director Jeff Katz had a big role in the library book purges in the 1980's. Daniel Golden is out as head of Boston University because he is "intemperate and irrational" but he has hired a top lawyer because he has a contract. WFCR reports that Stop&Shop has donated one million dollars worth of food to the Food Bank of Western Mass and cited "dented cans and discontinued products" as the donated items. They also gave $25,000 worth of Thanksgiving turkeys.

Got a reply from William Clay Ford, CEO of Ford Motor Company, thanking me for sending him information about Fernbank. An excerpt:

Your record of your family's early days at Fernbank, the retreat your father built in Wilbraham, Massachusetts, is a tribute to your parents and to your father's 1935 Lizzie who, as a "member of the family" helped in its construction and development. It's a great story. We are grateful for so many years of the Miller family's loyalty to our products and our company.

Out this morning to the tag sale at St. Ceci's and Melinda McIntosh was there. She looked good and noticed my new car at once. The same old crowd was there and I spent $60 on some postcards. Eamon's sister was there and she is a wonderful, helpful lady. We looked over some jigsaw puzzles and we both agreed that Eamon hasn't the patience to concentrate on a puzzle. Then I headed over to Oldies in Indian Orchard. They confirmed that Novak's is out of business with a big closed sign in the window. I went to Lowe's and bought some paint brushes, then finally to Fleet Bank where they were celebrating Mortgage Day with free rainbow slinkies and tins of breath mints.

At around eleven I went down to In A Flash at 477 Breckwood Shops and ordered some copies of my Boland and Seuss dedication photos. The woman behind the counter said they would be ready by three, so I returned at that time and got the pictures and they were very nicely done. However when I got home I noticed that I had been charged for 54 photos and after counting them twice I realized there were only 51. So back I went and got a $1.42 refund. The shop is owned by David Mavlouganes. Nobody can get anything right!

Sen. Brian Lees wants to attach to an economic stimulus bill provisions for slot machines at dog and horse racetracks along with licenses for three casinos, one in Hampden County where Peter Picknelly is active. All the Melconian and Caulton signs in the Acres are gone but proud Charlie Ryan supporters still have their signs up everywhere.

November 9, 2003 

47 degrees on the breezeway. 

The renovations at 170 Slater Avenue are looking good with a high peak and stone front. The evening news had a segment about the Forest Park Library re-opening today. Belle-Rita Novak was featured and Roy Wright with sideburns was on commenting on how much the library meant to him as a kid. There was a murder at the corner of Maple and High by South Church. There was also a stabbing in front of the Alumni Club a few days back. 

Left a big bag of magazines at the Cohn's and then went over to the Open House at 55 Birchland. It is a cute house being sold by John Martel, a 1979 Cathedral graduate and athlete. The asking price is  $121,000. Then I went over to the Boston Road Big Y for the specials, and then went across the street to McDonald's for fish sandwiches, fries and a salad with vinegar dressing. I was the only customer there. 

I called St. Michael's and got Mary and asked her if their director Joseph Kostek got my postcards. She said she didn't know and that Kostek "wears many hats" and has an office elsewhere so she doesn't know when she'll be able to ask him. I said he should have sent me a thank you note without me having to ask. Eamon called and said he heard a rumor that Dr. Peter Negroni might be the next president of American International College. Eamon doesn't believe it, although Negroni still has his house here and if you dial the number there you get a recording telling you to call a New York number. Negroni no longer works with former West Virginia Governor Gaspard Caperton. Eamon said Negroni would turn A.I.C. into a diploma mill for minority students - renaming it "Social Graduation University."

Eamon says there has been lots of violence at Commerce lately,  with the newspaper and other media keeping the lid on and not printing a word about it. In just the last week four teachers were assaulted and one student was carried out unconscious on a stretcher. A science teacher was one of those assaulted and the faculty at Commerce is totally stressed out. One of the teachers was Linda Levister, who was assaulted by a student when she confiscated a tennis ball from a student that had been bouncing it off the wall. Some of the Boy's and Girl's room are closed because of vandalism. Last week Bill Rice was in charge of detention and all the kids walked out on him. All of this is happening in a good as new school after millions in renovations.

Superintendent Burke is trying to solve the problem using public relations and will not back up the teachers or enforce the Code of Conduct.  I asked Eamon what should be done and he said a start would be to have the so-called Quebec officers stationed around the school instead of sitting in the cafeteria drinking coffee. He also said that the principal should be walking around the school and popping into classrooms instead of being locked in her office like what Dr. Ann Henry does. Eamon and Jim Landers both called McDermott at the paper today and demanded that they begin covering what is happening at Commerce.

November 11, 2003

47 degrees at 3:54pm. Today is Vet's Day. Kurt Vonnegut is 81.

Al Gore has accused President Bush of "using the War on Terror as an excuse for gaining more power." Too bad Gore isn't running again. John Kerry is shaking up his staff and firing his campaign chairman and replacing him with a woman who used to work for Ted Kennedy. The news says that Newman Sewing Machine Center in the South End is moving to West Springfield, so the ghostification of Springfield continues.

Dr. John A. Alifano, physician, author, poet and humanitarian, of Longhill Street in Springfield, died in 1997. He wrote "Fruit From Fertile Fields" in 1969. Phil Rainey, friendly enough but a man's man type, is a realtor on Center Street in Ludlow. Yankee Candle is celebrating its 35th Anniversary. It is the largest tourist destination in the Commonwealth, second only to the Freedom Trail in Boston. Take that, Basketball Hall of Fame!

On Antique Roadshow tonight a Springfield Federal candle stand was appraised at $10,000. A Charlie Ryan thank-you letter to the voters appeared in the paper today. It is mostly rhetoric about "re-invigorating" the city, but nothing specific. The Mason Square Library has re-opened in a section only about a fourth the size of what it formerly had. The old books are still available there or elsewhere in the system, so the collection has not been decimated as feared. TV40 says Gary Westerman of West Springfield is missing and may be a victim of the mob. His car was found in front of the West Springfield McDonald's and his keys in an aisle of the Big Y. Eamon says that West Springfield is a hotbed of mob activity.

$500 dollars in bonds came in the mail and my statement from A.G. Edwards. I'm ditching the University of Vermont and Colby as charities, either people line up and behave or they get nothing - and I will not beg them to behave. Nader the Hatter called and said he wants to go out to lunch soon. He says he sold some stuff to the Innovation Center in Wales and said he's sold quite a bit while he's been here and is glad to see he still has a following in this area.

My old high school chum Dr. John Rixon arrived carrying a pie at 9:50am. The Veteran's Day parade started at eleven so I said we better get going. We cruised quickly through Saint Michael's Cemetery which John said he had never been in before (surprising for a Catholic lad). The mausoleum there is nearing completion and the lovely stained glass windows are in place. John said his wife served as a combat nurse in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive and has a relative who was the President of Westfield Savings Bank. His son Andrew is doing a residency in optometry in Memphis and son Greg is an aerospace engineer.

After we parked downtown we watched the brief Veteran's Day parade standing by the Boland statue on Main Street. I mentioned how many blame Boland for the closing of the Springfield Armory and Rixon said that when the Armory closed the city lost a lot of talented workers. He said his father was president of the local postman's union and knew Boland well. Former Mayor Daniel Brunton was Rixon's godfather.

After the dull and militaristic parade I took John for a ride through the North End, which John said reminded him of the Spanish ghetto in Hartford. He told me his family used to live on Liberty Street although he always lived on Rittenhouse Terrace when I knew him. John is a Latinist who believes that modern Portuguese is closer to Latin than any other modern language.

We swung by Eamon's and found him home wearing a blue shirt. Eamon showed us all the old clocks and figurines in his parlor. Eamon told us he was talking to Jim Polito of TV40 who told him he was at Commerce to interview Principal Ann Henry and said her office "is fancier than a bank president's office." I'll bet that wasn't true in Phil Sweeney's day. Polito wants more dirt on Commerce but can only report on it if he has hard evidence. Eamon said that personally he continues to be in contact with James A. Peyser and the Office of Quality and Accountability about the Springfield Schools.

After Eamon's we headed out to Wilbraham and I showed John the Rice Fruit Farm and Rich Hall. When we went to Indian Orchard to look at the Stusick Block it started sleeting so I said we should get back so that John could drive to Connecticut before it got too bad. Home at 12:50.

November 13, 2003

46 degrees at 11:21 when I entered Fleet Bank.

Women say they're sorry more often than men.

F.W. Sickles Company was one of the first companies in Springfield to employ large numbers of women. They moved to the former Dwight Mills in Chicopee in 1940 and closed in 1978 due to foreign competition. The Wilbraham Public Library is having a watercolor exhibit by the Hitchcock Academy Art Guild.

John R. Elliot runs Branford Rare Books in Branford, Connecticut. Attorney Gary P. Shannon was Mrs. Lucia's high-priced lawyer to fend off Efrem Gordon and me. He went to Bates '70 and Washington and Lee '73. A lot of Boston University Law graduates in the firm Doherty, Wallace, Pillsbury and Murphy. Ex-DA Matty Ryan is one of theirs. I have been a good supporter of the Hurst's but I don't like the way Marjorie Hurst has behaved on the School Committee.

Called Springfield College and got a grad student majoring in psychology and I asked to speak to Rev. Leo J. Hoar. He was not in so I was transferred to his answering machine where I listened to his message of religious goo and then asked him to call me back. Next I called the East Longmeadow Methodist Church and Marjorie Mollar answered. I said I saw the article about their anniversary in the paper and I'd like to send them some of my postcards of John Wesley. She said she'd have to ask someone and who may I say is calling? Attorney J. Wesley Miller. When she returned she said, "We don't think we'd be interested right now." I asked who said no and after a pause she replied, "Mr. Ferguson." It would be interesting to know what people are saying about me, but all I've done is be nice to people.

This was the last day of the Big Y special on daisy hams so I drove over to the Five Town Mall Big Y. They said they had no hams left and were waiting for a truck to arrive with more. I already had a carriage full of stuff but I told them that since they don't have what I came for I'll just leave it all here and walked out. The next stop was the East Longmeadow Big Y and there too they had no hams. Finally I drove over to Longmeadow and of course their Big Y wouldn't dare be out of stock so I bought two hams. As I was going out I ran into a smiling Janie Throne in a bright blue jumpsuit.

Like always there were lots of posters up in the Longmeadow Big Y, with many posters I never saw anywhere in Springfield even though they were for Springfield events. The sociology of postering is simple and often unflattering - if they don't poster your neighborhood it's because they don't think much of you or your neighbors. But everybody loves to invite the people of Longmeadow to their events because THEY HAVE MONEY!

I went over to the the Longmeadow Shops on Bliss Road and stopped at United Bank and talked with Foy Miller (who still has an antique Johnson's Bookstore paperweight on her desk) about my upcoming CD renewals. Stopped at Cock O The Walk and Carol waited on me and said they didn't have the tureen I wanted. Then I walked around until some guy who said he is the mall director asked if he could help me find something, so I guess my black leather motorcycle jacket made an impression. I said, "No thanks, I'm just slumming it in Longmeadow for the afternoon."

When I got home Eamon called and told me that one year ago Superintendent J. Burke said of Dr. Ann Henry "we must start the process of getting her out" but said it was hard because "she has a bunker mentality" and will accuse anyone who is critical of her of being a racist. Henry has five assistant principals under her making around $100,000 apiece and seven guidance councilors making $70,000 each. Burke also hired a special consultant, Ruthie M. Matthews of Hartford, for $100,000 to show Henry how to run the school but no one ever sees her. "Teacher of the Year" Melinda Pelleran-Duck has no regular teaching assignments and nobody has seen her for months.
In the Commerce class of 2004 there were 704 students to start and now there are only 240 left.

After Eamon hung up I decided to call Ann Henry at Commerce and find out for myself what she is like. Someone named Pat answered and said she would get me Henry's secretary so I waited and waited and waited and no one ever came on the line so I hung up, having never had the chance to speak to her.

November 14, 2003

52 degrees at 8am. High winds but sunny. Gas is $1.49 at Island Pond.

Assuming God doesn't exist, religion then is the result of the universal moral impulse in people. This means Man is basically good where religion makes him out as basically bad.

Congressman Silvio O. Conte had his office at 7 North Street in Pittsfield in 1963. Murdered cops Scaivena and Beauregard are being remembered in the news again, I guess we will never hear the end of that. The news says that Henry Thomas of the Urban League wants to collect rent from the Anne Curran fund for the space they are letting remain a library. What nerve! There was a big meeting today about the leadership crisis at Commerce but Jim Polito couldn't go because he was assigned somewhere else. Just as well, since the reporters from other media who showed up (tipped off by Eamon) were thrown out by Vice Principal Tom O'Brien. What about Freedom of the Press!

I talked to 83 year old Merle Stafford about the Norcross Center house restoration that was featured in The Reminder this week. She is friendly and said she is a former real estate broker. I asked her if they'd be interested in buying an antique stove from me and she said she didn't know but that she'd call me back if so.

The winds today reminded me of the time that Father and I were at the Springdale Mall and the wind blew off his green hat and carried it across the street! Went to the Eastfield Mall to Filene's to check out their tureens. All they had were the same old platters for $99. Upon leaving I found in the trashcan today's Boston Globe and Berkshire Eagle. Headline on the front of the Globe, "Bush Urges Mideast to Accept Democracy."

Went downtown and Court Square was packed with school buses. As a child I loved our school trips to Symphony Hall. In those days the seats in the hall were made of folding plywood that made a racket when you put the seats up or down. Arrived at the Trade Fair in West Springfield and it was okay. No clowns walking around, not even me. I wore my jacket but no collar.

Got some freebies such as a lovely little cup of seafood chowder from Chateau Provost and little tarts with pink frosting from the Springfield Newspapers. Had a good chat with Buendo from The Reminder and when I gave him a postcard of Forest Park he cried, "I love it!" Holyoke Community College was promoting their business development program and the Girl Scouts were serving chocolate covered cookies. Elms was promoting their graduate programs and I told them I was sorry to hear that their president was sick with cancer.

Then I headed over to the Uno Chicago Grill on the riverfront to have lunch with Eamon and Nader the Hatter. Arrived at the Hall of Fame via Union Street at 12:38 and saw that the elevator is still broken. Uno was packed so I waited outside and soon they arrived - Nader wearing his wide brimmed panama hat doing the driving and Eamon sitting there beside him in his little Irish cap. He gave me a copy of a recent audit by the Inspector General of housing loans made by the Albano Administration between 1996 and 2001. From the Executive Summary:

Our audit disclosed problems with the City's management of Community Development Block Grants, HOME funds and miscellaneous income generated by Urban Development Action Grants. The city did not always comply with its own policies and procedures, follow HUD program requirements, or maintain essential documentation. In addition, the city lacked effective internal controls in some areas. Of the $691,803 in costs reviewed we questioned $674,194.

So in other words, almost all the money was stolen. Eamon read this to us as we waited for a seat, and said he would be surprised if we ever hear anything about the matter again. Soon we were seated and ordering. We all had lobster and shrimp pie which was good but the baked veggies were nothing special. Eamon had a Heinekin but didn't finish it.

Eamon told us that he tried to post some information on Masslive's Springfield Forum yesterday but within five minutes it had been censored. Eamon also said he spoke to Ryan on the phone today about the need for audits of all city departments and said Charlie sounded aloof. I explained that now that Ryan is mayor he has to be a little more formal with us. Eamon said that one of the FBI people told him that Charlie Ryan has said nothing to help them with their investigation and they feel that because of his years with Springfield Central he should know plenty about wrong doing even if he wasn't personally involved.

Before we left I had a tall guy at the restaurant take my camera and take a picture of the three of us. Then Eamon and The Hatter thanked me for lunch which I agreed to pay for, and which came to $60.29 with a ten dollar tip.

November 16, 2003

37 degrees and overcast at 7am. Gas is $1.49 at Mobil in the Acres.

My maternal grandfather Frank Martin Wilson, a poor Vermont farmer, was run down and killed, probably drunk, as he walked home from Bethel at night on August 21, 1937.

Kevin McCaskill is the principal at DeBerry Elementary School in Springfield. I came across the old certificate of title for my Mother's 1985 Ford LTD which was bought September 12, 1988. United Bank has paved their parking lot and made it easier to get around the drive-in teller window. The Sunday Republican had a claim across the top that it has "more news" but they seem to have only re-juggled the sections and eliminated some of their more expensive syndicated columnists.

Was sitting in the dining room admiring the sunlight through the window when the mailman rang with my Microsoft stock certificate and the Thoreau book I ordered. Then I went over to see my neighbor Lucius, who was wearing a white t-shirt and chino pants and I gave him some pictures of the new Vet's Cemetery. He said he thinks the cemetery is lovely.

I went over to the Grand Opening of the Home Goods store in East Longmeadow whose motto is "Save With Style." It is located in the former Ames store and a free tote bag was promised to the first 200 through the door. I was number 34 and there was a line behind me stretching all the way across the front of the building almost to the Bank of Boston.

A lady came out and welcomed us saying that she was the manager and then they let us in. With Stop&Shop across the street this is now the premier shopping space in the East Longmeadow area. Home Goods is full of luxury merchandise, much of it imported, with very stylish designer and gourmet kitchenware and decorative pieces galore. High pretentiousness might be the phrase for it.

Eastfield Mall and even Ingleside will feel a pinch in their business because of this opening. I bought a $6.99 fancy metal box of Churchill's New Orchard Fruit Jellies and they are well worth the price. I had my eye on a Buddha statue but didn't want to rush into anything. No tureens. When I left at 10:40 there was still a long line waiting to get in.

On the way back I drove through Hillcrest where a couple were walking; there are always walkers in Hillcrest Cemetery. Then I stopped at Ruby Tuesday at 1411 Boston Road where I ordered two veggie burgers for the price of one with a coupon. Foster Memorial Church has a new glass and metal sign in which they can insert letters.

When I got home Eamon called and mentioned that Jim Landers is cutting the bushes around his colonial. He told me that the building in which Linda Melconian has her West Springfield office is for sale and he wondered whether Melconian owns it. Eamon thinks that Charlie Ryan should serve without a salary and should demand that all the department heads take a 20% pay cut. He complained that Ryan's kids never seem to be around to help and recalled that in the 1995 campaign Jennifer Ryan got a thousand a week as campaign publicist but was never in the office.

November 18, 2003

Up at 7am, 42 degrees and sprinkling.

"The theories of today are the falsehoods of tomorrow." - E.T. O'Sullivan

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has ruled 4-3 that the Constitution of the Commonwealth enables same sex marriage.

Vermont's Howard Dean is 55. Arnold Swarzenegger was sworn in today in California and is serving without a salary. Storrowtown Tavern is opening today. William C. Nader returning to Florida today. Robert Hall Clothes was located on State Street across from AIC, we used to buy suits there.

Radical bookseller Eugene Povirk came to visit today. I gave him an autographed copy of my book Jokes for Every Jury. He gave me a wonderful report of the Buckhurst Peerage Case. Povirk told me he used to be a house painter and majored in social relations at Harvard. Like Howard Dean, he is now 55 years old.

We went over to Pizza Uno on Boston Road for pizza, salad and beer. Povirk discussed the radical feminist Jill Johnson of Cummington whose papers Smith College may buy for $100,000. He said colleges and universities are starting to put major money into acquiring archives by prominent radicals.

We parted at 12:34 and I drove up to Old Deerfield for what will be my final visit this year. On the way I stopped at the Odyssey Bookshop on College Street in South Hadley which is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Against my expectations I ended up spending $179.30 on books! Strangely I found absolutely no posters around South Hadley.

Passed through Amherst center where I saw some blue and white Howard Dean for President signs. Arrived at Old Deerfield and bought ticket number 93468 and visited the Stebbens House, the Allen House and the Dwight House. Our tour guide was an elderly lady from Amherst named Wyman. I liked the Stebbens House best, it is brick with wallpaper from Maine and the fanciest furniture. At one point I told them that the trouble with Old Deerfield is that they celebrate WASP culture and no other cultural groups.

There is a house for sale next to the Dwight House that we were told is selling for $1,300,000. With all the tourist traffic who would want it? The Dwight House was originally located in Springfield but was moved to Old Deerfield for permanent restoration. On the tour with me was Thaddeus and Charlotte Bulkley of Weston, Vermont where they are teachers.

On the way back I was surprised to see Tom Devine's house on Breckwood for sale again by Carlson (781-6700) with the sign stuck close to the street. When I got home I started going through the recent newspaper obituaries and was startled to read that Mary Alice Stusick has died!

Mary Alice Stusick-Plant, 62, of Wilbraham Road in Springfield, died Sunday in Mercy Medical Center. Born in Springfield March 31, 1941 she was the daughter of the late Dr. Stanley S. and Alice (Mikus) Stusick. Her sister Veleda Stusick-Altman died in 1986.

I called her husband Gary Plant immediately and offered my condolences. I also said I would be in touch to see if he would sell me some of the Stusick family memorabilia, especially anything involving Stanley, the famous physician. Then I called Ann Staniski to tell her of Mary Alice's death. Mary Alice was a work of art created by her parents, but Ann Staniski is a work of art who grew to full flower by her own virtues.

November 19, 2003

49 degrees in the morning with showers.

Hundreds rallied last night in support of the SJC decision legalizing gay marriage in front of Northampton City Hall. Six of the seven justices currently on the court were appointed by Republican governors. Governor Romney released the statement, "I agree with three thousand years of recorded history - marriage is between a man and a woman."

Antonette Pepe's brother Andrew is co-owner of the Storrowtown Tavern. Silvano's is located in an old house on Worthington Street, fine dining but with a small parking lot.

Called ex-rep Fred Whitney this morning and he sounded glad to hear from me. He said his wife "is still in rough shape" and bemoaned that even his own wife has turned against Bush. He said his sickly son is also "having a rough time of it." Whitney told me he had to make trouble for Matt Ferry because he is on both the Liquor Commission and the Election Commission and you can legally serve on only one. Matt Ferry is a former aide to Sen. Brian Lees and was Republican City Committee chairman.

Then I called Virginia Robbins at South Church and got the number of Eleanor Lammers on Holly Drive to find out more about the death of Mary Alice Stusick-Plant. She was most helpful. Lammers is the marriage councilor at South Church and said Mary Alice was married there when she was a virgin bride of 50. She was Gary Plant's second wife. Lammers thinks Mary Alice married him "because she was so desperate to have someone pay attention to her." In her opinion Mary Alice's closest confidant was Loretta Watson, now aged 98, who still sings in the South Church choir. She said Mary Alice had "no sense of money" and wasted the family fortune. Lammers also said Gary Plant is already selling off Stusick memorabilia to pay for the funeral.

I decided I should head over to the Stusick-Plant home myself and found Gary Plant and his sister there. Plant says he intends to clean the place out and move to Florida. I saw nine harps in the front room and Plant said he has already sold them to Ron Midgett in Amherst. He said Mary Alice told him she did not want any memory of herself preserved but said he intends to deny her request. There is a big room full of memorabilia in the basement so I said I would come back to check it out.

When I got back home Eamon called and told me he had received an important phone call from Deezer Sullivan. Deezer said that City Clerk William Metzger had called him and reported that Federal agents marched into City Hall today and slammed everybody in the Election Department with subpoenas to testify in an investigation into absentee voting fraud involving votes cast for Linda Melconian from government housing projects in the North End.

Election Commissioner Brian Santaniello was among those served but Metzger had no information on whether Saco Catjakis was also hit. Clerk Metzger described Santaniello as in a panic and after the Feds left he ran directly to the retirement office. Metzger speculated that Santaniello will probably seek early retirement because if you are convicted of a crime while still in office you lose your pension. All there was about it on the news tonight was a little story by Shena Seymour on TV40 saying that subpoenas were served but "nobody's talking."

November 21, 2003

53 degrees at 7:15am. Heavy rain overnight.

The more active you are the longer you'll be active.

Bob Markel's friend Senator Joe Biden of Delaware is 61. WFCR had a story about Santaniello and the Election Office scandal. They said that fifty absentee ballots marked for Melconian appeared to be filled out by the same person.

Arrived at the Stusick-Plant place at 9am to look at the family memorabilia. Gary Plant greeted me and said the mail yesterday brought condolences from the Tuesday Morning Music Club. I gave him a paper listing Carvalho, McLain and Humbertson as the people to contact at the Quadrangle. He said he is interested in giving to the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum only that which can't be sold. I also suggested Peter Imler to him as an auctioneer.

Plant showed me the house and I was surprised to see there was no fireplace anywhere. Mary Alice's doll collection was displayed on a second floor bookcase. There were also wooden cabinets with fancy glassware inside which Plant said has already been sold to an antique dealer. Plant said his sister is staying in the guestroom.

There was lots of sheet music all over the house, some of which Plant said are original scores by the composers. I said Blodgett's or Mt. Holyoke College might be interested in the music. I told him how Blodgett's came to my house when I was selling Maurice Freedman's music and that they might come to appraise Mary Alice's. I was surprised to see a box of unused Brian P. Lees stationary, which Plant said the senator left behind when he moved out of one of Plant's buildings.

I bought a lovely brass music stand for $65, three small bells and Mary Alice's business cards. I also bought two Worcester Federal Savings postcards showing their building that was demolished to build the Springfield Civic Center, plus Dr. Stusick's medical certificates, a framed group photo of Arthur Henry Turner's symphony form 1926 and a picture of the Hartford Symphony from around the same time. No Emil Janser symphony picture has turned up. I also got a copy of the permit for the construction of the Indian Orchard rental buildings and Mary Alice's sterling flute. In all I spent $375 and when I left I said I would return in a week after he had a chance to go through more of the archives.

Then I went to pick up Mrs. Staniski for lunch today and arrived at her house at 10:44. I showed her some of the Stusick stuff I bought and she was amazed. She recalled how Mary Alice and her sister Veleda wore pretty clothes all the time and how Mrs. Stusick would have them chauffeured to school in a Cadillac.

We left for lunch at 11:01 and I drove through St. Michael's Cemetery so Mrs. Staniski could see the new mausoleum, and as we were leaving by the back gate I pointed out the Picknelly family plot. Heading down State Street I also showed her the new fencing around the Quadrangle. She asked me who paid for it and I told her I thought it was Donald D'Amour of the Big Y. She told me she doesn't think much of the D'Amour family. She explained that when Big Y first started in Chicopee her husband John Staniski sold the D'Amour's some insurance but they were always saying "no money today" when he came to collect the premiums. He used to have to go there three times to collect once.

We arrived at Storrowtown Tavern at 1305 Memorial Avenue in West Springfield at 11:28. The place has been fixed up somewhat with new brass-wares on the shelves and the new dinnerware is lovely. There is no longer a fish tank. A basket of rolls came and we ordered the beef dinners which came with mashed potatoes. The service was impeccable.

After lunch we walked around a little and I took a picture of Mrs. Stusick with the church and Tavern in the background. Mrs. Staniski recalled how she had her 50th wedding anniversary and 90th birthday party at Storrowtown. She said Averill Copley had her 90th birthday party there too but she drank three carafes of wine and when she stood up to leave she fell over and broke her hip. From the hospital she had to be put in a nursing home and soon died!

On the way home we encountered a big traffic jam in downtown Springfield at State and Main where a back hoe working on a water main hit a gas line. I dropped off Mrs. Staniski at 2:02 and she asked me if I had anyplace to go on Thanksgiving. I didn't want them to have to mess with me so I lied and said yes.

When I got home I called Westbank and got Ingrid the receptionist and I told her I had a complaint to make and wanted to speak to someone in person. She said she would connect me to Claire Bailey but all I got was an answering machine. So at the beep I stated, "Good afternoon Madam. I am J. Wesley Miller, Attorney at Law. I requested to speak to a real person, not an answering machine." Then I shouted as loud as I could, "FUCK YOU!"

November 22, 2003

46 degrees at 6:30am. Beautiful mild day with no hint of winter.

Today is the 40th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Odyssey Bookshop, which is now located across from Mount Holyoke College, began as a book section in Romeo Grenier's South Hadley pharmacy in 1957 and became a full-fledged bookstore in 1963.

Dr. Stanley Stusick started out as a Catholic but became a Protestant, perhaps to get ahead in the medical profession. His daughter Mary Alice was a Mormon in the end. Attorney Timothy J. Howes had his offices at 56 Suffolk Street in Holyoke in 1964. Mike Wallace is in charge of the Forest Park Carriage House.

Headed out today to Winn Liquors for some boxes. I saw someone standing in front of 170 Slater and I rolled down my window and called, "I admire what you've done with your house, mister." He called back thank you. I drove out to Fernbank and the gas station in North Wilbraham is charging $1.57. Lakeside Restaurant is undergoing renovation. Next I swung by the Salvation Army to drop off some stuff and got a receipt from Luis Claudio.

Finally I stopped over at Doyle the Twig Painter's and parked on the side street. I noticed that the art in his window had changed and on the door was a sign with a cartoon head of Doyle drawn on top. It read: "CLOSED! Mailman! Please Leave Parcels at Music World." I went next door to Music World at 153 Boston Road and had a chat with the owner Jim Sampson who told me that Doyle is out of the Vet's Hospital. Sampson is a straight, clean-cut professional fellow but some of his customers looked like druggies. I said I'd heard that he knew the Stusicks and Sampson said he used to rent space from Gary Plant in Indian Orchard and claimed it was full of code violations and that Plant "has enemies all over the city." As I left I asked Sampson to forward my sincere best wishes to Doyle.

I then walked over to Crown Pizza, which used to be the Hungry Hound (Clam Shack too?) and where the first Friendly's was located and bought a slice of pepperoni pizza for $1.95. It was okay, but I won't be going back. When I got home my neighbor Don Campbell was raking his lawn and told me his son Brian is in law school.

Later I walked over and dropped off some magazines at Irving Cohn's. He said he is struggling to keep going. A uniformed attendant was there preparing supper. Cohn said he was unable to locate his master's thesis on hatting and fears his wife may have thrown it out, but believes the 23rd Street Library in New York would have a copy. He said he used to serve as a librarian at Sinai Temple in Springfield and said they had a lot of expensive medical books in a back room.

Eamon called and said he was over Landers today helping him move his Heidelberg press into the garage. Eamon told me that Ryan has asked Pat Sullivan to give him a copy of the contract for concessions at Franconia golf course that are held by the Albanos so that he can check it for improprieties. When Antonette Pepe heard about it she laughed and said, "I think Charlie's got a little mean streak." Eamon said he likes Pepe because "she has a lot of commonsense and talks straight." Karen Powell called Eamon today trying to find out more about the ballot scandal in the Election office but a wall of silence has gone up around the whole affair.

Eamon is concerned about rumors that Ryan's campaign manager Bruce Fitzgerald is going to be named Chief of Staff. Eamon says Fitzgerald does not have impressive credentials and I said good, that means he'll do as he's told and not try to run the city himself. Fitzgerald has done odd jobs for Ryan in the past and once roofed Deezer Sullivan's house. He was a low level telephone company supervisor before he retired. Although everybody knows him as Bruce his real first name is Richard.

I advised Eamon to forget about the politics of the Ryan transition. I said Charlie Ryan was the best choice for mayor and the best chance the city has for recovery. He said he feels Ryan is avoiding him and I warned Eamon that sometimes he comes on too strong. I concluded by saying we're lucky to have Ryan so let him do his thing.

November 24, 2003

Sunny and 39 degrees this morning. Mobil - $1.49. Yesterday evening when I was putting the car away I saw a brown cottontail rabbit.

When Shawmut First Bank and Trust was located in its historic art deco building on State Street there was a brick parking garage diagonally across the back street and another parking lot across the alley on the upper side of the building. The telephone number of the old Breckwood Big Y was 783-2371. Vernon G. Campbell is President of the Rotary Club of Chicopee. Mayor-elect Charles V. Ryan lives at 55 Maplewood Terrace in Springfield.

Drove out at 9:09 to East Longmeadow for the 150th anniversary of the United Methodist Church there. I have been there before for tag sales and I heard Bishop Skeete speak there some years ago giving a sermon with anti-Catholic jokes. Arrived at 9:21 and was the first to park. By the time I left in the middle of the service I counted 78 cars. Inside I counted 111 persons including 18 children. There was a historical exhibit on display featuring Ralph Crandall, who was a great preacher.

I made an exception today in my dress policy and most people would not have recognized me. I went in disguise wearing blue pants, blue open collar shirt and blue sports coat. As for the service everything is done ultra-modern in East Longmeadow, no Scriptural citations in the program and the liturgy all changed.

At the start of the service I could hear Rev. Marjorie Mollar just fine and Doug Parker and Diane Hemingway as well. Kevin Greene gave a clever message for children. The main speaker was Bishop Susan Wolfe Hassinger. The Bishop smiles sweetly and makes lots of hand gestures, but I couldn't hear a word she said although I was in the fifth row, so I put nothing in the collection plate. Listening to the Bishop was like looking at a badly damaged papyrus document. You get a word here and there and sometimes a phrase but never a full sentence. A sermon has more in common with an oration than a conversation. It requires showmanship and theatricality. It is is not spoken, it is declaimed and projected.

I did sign the guest register when I left at 11:53. On the way back I stopped at Angelo's on Boston Road where the employees were making lots of Thanksgiving holiday baskets. Then I went to Hillcrest Cemetery to find the grave of Mary Alice Stusick-Plant. I went to the office where the receptionist was not there but the boss was. He gave me a map and marked on it where the grave was. Mary Alice is buried right by her sister at the turnaround in front of the mausoleum. There were no flowers nor any gravestone.

Next I drove out to Oldies in Indian Orchard to see what they had heard about the Stusick estate. When I got there the lady was busy with a man trying to sell her old calendars, and while I waited I noticed a fraternal military certificate on the wall with the name William Eric Chiz on it. When the calendar guy left the lady noticed me looking at it and said that was her father. I asked what kind of name Chiz was and she said Jewish. I told her my name is English Methodist and she said Chiz is Russian-Polish.

So I asked her whether she had heard anything about the Stusick archives. She said "the valley's collection community is all abuzz" about what historic items may surface now that the last of the Stusicks has died, but that she believed everything of real value had been sold off years ago. She described Gary Plant as "a very bad man" who over the years repeatedly sold historic Stusick artifacts without Mary Alice's knowledge. In her opinion Dr. Stanley Stusick was a wonderful man "but his daughter's were a disappointment to him and married badly."

Afterwards I went to Senator Lees' office at 527 Main Street in Indian Orchard and spoke to staff assistant Christina Thompson. I told her about all the Brian Lees stationary in the Stusick basement and warned her that if it fell into the wrong hands it could be used to cause embarrassment. She thanked me for the information.

Finally I stopped at In A Flash on Breckwood to pick up some photos and was surprised to realize they have quietly raised their prices to 50 cents per photo. I think In A Flash tries to outsmart their customers. As I left I saw Marion Ruggles getting into a big blue Buick and she condescendingly waved to me. When I got home I called the East Longmeadow United Methodist Church and got Joyce. Using a deep voice I said, "The Bishop was inaudible, she needs lessons in projection," and hung up.

Al Bruno, one of the leaders of the local mafia, was shot four times and killed in the parking lot of the South End Social Club/Mt Carmel Society last night. The place is well known as an "after hours bar" where liquor is served. Although it is illegal, the police do nothing. Bruno was known to be sometimes generous with his ill-gotten gains. It was the 13th homicide in Springfield this year.

Years ago Eamon used to play cards with Bruno at Joe Calabrese's auto body shop in West Springfield. Tom Ireland was on TV saying that Bruno (who used to play racquetball with D.A. Matty Ryan) was friendly and honest. Eamon said Tom Ireland is a mafia wannabe who once had his leg broken because he was behind on some debts. No doubt the FBI will be attending the wake and funeral and noting who shows up.

November 26, 2003

45 degrees today at 7am. A beautiful, sunny day. Gas at Pride $1.49.

A bell isn't a bell until you ring it
A song isn't a song until you sing it
Love wasn't put in your heart to stay
Love isn't love until you give it away.

Wesley Clark has issued a stinging attack on Bush. The Massachusetts Taxpayer's Foundation says that for the first time Massachusetts is spending more on prisons than on higher education. That's pretty disgusting. The Holyoke and Winchendon school districts have been declared underperforming, the first schools in Massachusetts so named. Joan Grenier and Neil Novak are the co-owners of Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley. Pittsfield is losing its minor league baseball team.

Michaelann Bewsee was on TV last night at an anti-war demonstration speaking for the right to oppose, to voice opinions and to challenge the war and the illegitimate use of authority. The Springfield YMCA has dedicated their gym in honor of Rep. Richard Neal for all the time he spent at the Y as a youngster and his role in saving Camp Norwich. Eamon called and said Bruce Fitzgerald will be Ryan's Chief of Staff as feared. Fitzgerald retired from the phone company twelve years ago at age 48. Eamon said he gave Ryan $500 in 1995 but only $100 this year.

Called Carlson and found out that the Devine place at 106 Breckwood Blvd. is for sale for $98,700. Beth Dole is the salesperson. Belle Rita Novak called to thank me for the chocolates I sent, although she said they were eaten by her grandchildren. She told me that the same people own Home Goods that own Marshall's. Novak asked what I thought of the reopened Forest Park Market and I said I was impressed by the Oriental food section.

Belle-Rita said she doesn't like gambling, which is one of the reasons she backed Ryan. She said she has written to Ryan asking to be appointed to the Police Commission. I said I thought it was a wonderful idea. After she hung up I called Charlie Ryan's house and his daughter Jennie answered. She said her father wasn't home so I told her to give her dad the message that I endorse Belle-Rita Novak for Police Commission.

Workmen are patching Wilbraham Road. Arrived at the Longmeadow Shops at 1:08 and bought a lovely Armstale Tureen at Cock O the Walk. In the parking lot I saw a bumpersticker, "Smile, Your Mother Chose Life."

Next I went to the Stusick's where Verrilli the book dealer was there but he bought none of their old books because they were in such poor condition. Gary Plant said Peter Imler had been over and took a lot of stuff for their January auction. I told Plant that I had visited Mary Alice's grave and he said he is getting her a headstone for $400. He said Dr. and Mrs. Stusick are buried about 75 feet away.

In the basement I found a wonderful bellringer scrapbook and other Mikus stuff like pictures of Karl the piano man. I bought a Wurlitzer violin catalog from 1930 and Mary Alice's diploma in a red leather folder. Irene Mikus graduated from Elms. I also bought a 1954 photo of the Buckingham Junior High School Orchestra. I am in it in the violin section, and all the other boys are dressed as young men but I am dressed in my striped little boy uniform shirt that Mother made me wear. Mary Alice is playing first flute. I also bought a 1968 copy of Parables of Peanuts. Mary Alice had lots of paperback romances in her book collection. In all I spent about $250 and Plant was so pleased he said, "If you didn't have a beard I'd kiss you!"

When I got back to Birchland Avenue I spotted Mr. Cohn reading by the light of the afternoon sun coming in through his venetian blinds. Also saw Kelly getting her mail and told her I had been to the Stusick's, but she had never heard of them. Received in the mail today an envelope marked "Invoice Enclosed" from the Traditional Values Coalition which had a letter that starts, "Dear Traditional Value Coalition Member." Obviously I am not a member. I wrote on it, "Don't make my mailman think I owe you money! Scram!" Then I put it back in the envelope and marked it "Return to Sender."

November 29, 2003

47 degrees and overcast at 9am. Gas at Breckwood $1.47.

Go to one circus and you've seen them all.

Thursday was Thanksgiving. Bought the Thanksgiving Day paper and it was filled with circulars. When Mother was alive she used to read every single one and then I had to go around buying all the items she wanted. Martha Stewart spent her show telling us how to fix a turkey. Shouldn't that show have been on the day BEFORE Thanksgiving? Watched the Macy's Parade on NBC. For Thanksgiving dinner I brought out my dolls Sweet Pea and Honey Pot and we had a Marie Callender Turkey Dinner with squash, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie for dessert. I spent the rest of the day washing some books with dirty covers and gluing some loose pages in others.

This morning on WFCR they said that despite it's liberal reputation Massachusetts is last in giving voluntary charitable contributions. At Boston Road Big Y I parked next to a woman who failed to drive her car forward into the empty space in front of her. Why do people do that? Do they really prefer to back out? Got the specials at Big Y and saw flyers for Angelo's flea market on their bulletin board. Out at 11:35, then to In a Flash where they failed to print all the pictures from the negatives I gave them. I said nothing, but dealing with them always seems to be a problem.

The other day I stopped again at the East Longmeadow Methodist Church and took some literature and Sunday programs. Across the side road is Chestnut Hill Rehabilitation with a fancy brick gate. Up the road is the East Longmeadow Masonic Building, a two story structure with a peaked roof and a cornerstone saying it was built in 1967. Finally I stopped at the East Longmeadow Burger King and got one of their Dr. Seuss Xmas decorations free with a value meal.

When I got home at noon I called Karen Powell and she said she has a bad cold. She said she has heard nothing from Ryan. She also said that Maureen Turner from the Valley Advocate had her baby, but she doesn't know the baby's name or gender. I wished Karen a quick recovery from her cold.

Roy A. Wright called and said he is still working on his dissertation. He is thinking of moving permanently to either Springfield or Northampton or perhaps Burlington, Vermont.

Eamon called and said he spent Thanksgiving at his sister's. Ryan has announced his transition team and Eamon is not impressed. He's surprised that Barbara Garvey, Karen Powell and Mitch Ogulewicz are not on it. Making the cut was Melinda Pelleran-Duck (who Eamon calls "good at self-promotion"), Raymond Berry Junior, Timothy Ryan, Cheryl Rivera, Juan Genera (of the family the school is named after) and Mary Ellen Scott from the Chamber of Commerce. Eamon said he ran into Bernard Cawley in the convenience store who told him "Ryan's got a lot of lightweights" on his transition team.

Eamon recalled that Charlie Ryan supported Bill Foley (no relation of the current councilor) in the 1958 District Attorney race. Eamon accused Charlie of looking the other way at Matty Ryan's corruption because Matty's best friend is John "Ox" McCarthy who is a cousin of Charlie's wife Joan McCarthy. Eamon said that one time Matty Ryan's daughter was being "bothered" by some small time hood who wanted to date her and Ox McCarthy "took care of it" so the hood was never seen again.

Mr. Bruno has been buried at the Springfield Street Cemetery in Feeding Hills. Eamon told me he was talking to someone named Danielli who is a bartender downtown at Angelino's. He said the restaurant got a $27,000 economic development grant and all they did was spend $18 on a string of Christmas lights. Danielli also said Police Commissioner Jerry Phillips was a regular customer there and often slipped into the back room with known cocaine dealers.